Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the presidential Commission on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, made the comments in response to the recent sales in Moscow of notebooks with portraits of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on the cover.
The notebooks were part of the "Great Names of Russia" series.
"School is not a place for political propaganda," Fedotov said, adding that "no one would be bothered" by notebooks with portraits of great Russian writers, composers, or scientists.
The head of the Moscow municipal education committee told Ekho Moskvy that Stalin was "a criminal who destroyed millions of his countrymen" and that including him among the "great names of Russia" was "nonsense."
The same printing company had earlier used a portrait of Stalin for a series called "Famous World Tyrants."